Alleged Iranian plot to murder Saudi ambassador: A new diversion tactic by the Saudi-Ikhwan lobby

United against democracy: Saudi Ambassador Al-Jubeir (right) with Ambassador Naser Al Belooshi of Bahrain (left)

There are a number of serious questions about the whole episode, i.e, the alleged Iranian plot to murder Saudi ambassador to the USA.

Timing of the alleged plot or expose is quite meaningful.

Saudi Arabia is currently facing a four pronged spasm of democracy:

(i) One from its Eastern borders where majority population of Bahrain, Shia as well as Sunni Muslims, are demanding democracy from Saudi backed Salafi (Wahhabi) minority ruler, King Hamad Al Khalifa. (Saudis are often wrongly projected as Sunnis in Western media. Saudi Salafi or Wahhabi regime represents only a tiny minority in the overall Sunni Musilm population of the world and is usually disliked by Sunnis because of Salafis/Wahhabis puritanical rigid views on Islam and other Muslim sects).

(ii) On the Southern side, people in Yemen are out in streets in order to get rid of the Saudi-backed dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh. While 40-50% of Yemeni population comprises Shia Muslims, both Shias and Sunnis are united to get rid of the Saudi backed dictator.

(iii) Arab Spring: Ordinary Saudi citizens including women demanding rights equal to men, educated men and other ordinary people are demonstrating for democracy and human rights in Riyadh and other cities.

(iv) In the Eastern province of Saudi Arabia, where Shia Muslims constitute a majority, there is a considerable uprising against the Saudi dictatorial regime. Qateef is the hub of such pro-democracy demonstrations.

Of course, Saudi regime finds its convenient to blame Iran for ‘evil’ pro-democracy protests in the Saudi kingdom and neighbouring countries.

In the light of the above it was deemed useful and timely by the Saudi lobby in Washington to craft and present an alleged Iranian plot in order to divert world’s attention from the Arab spring within Saudi Arabia and its neighbourhood.

The Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan) Lobby

One also must examine the role of President Obama’s advisor for Muslim affairs, Dalia Mogahed and her link to the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan-ul-Muslimeen) . The nexus of Saudi-funded groups and individuals like CAIR and ISNA also include John Esposito, a long time defender of the Muslim Brotherhood and the head of the Saudi-financed Georgetown University Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at the Walsh School of Foreign Service.  Another controversial White House appointment is Rashad Hussain, special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

One can no longer afford an ostrich mentality with regard to the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) which is the Arab version of Jamaat-e-Islami and whose ties to the Jamaat go back to 1948.

The “Iranian plot” seems likely to have been constructed by alleged MB plants in the White House like Dalia.  Just as Pakistan can no longer afford the infiltration of the Jamaat-e-Islami at every level of the State, the United States needs to investigate the Muslim Brotherhood infiltration within the ranks of its own State Department and administration.

No one wants to defend Iran’s poor human rights record but at the same time, one should be very clear as to who is financing the Taliban and Al Qaeda that are committing mass murders in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. Hint, it’s not Iran.  This latest incident of falsely accusing Iran to deflect growing criticism of Saudí Arabia’s brutal suppression of pro-democracy movements should be an eye-opener for the United States.

Of course given the internal domestic pressure on the USA administration, particularly in view of the Wall Street demonstrations, it served certain political interests to divert public attention to the Iranian “Devil”.

United against Taliban and Al Qaeda

Both Iran and the United States need to understand that for peace and prosperity in South, Central and West Asia, their interests are aligned against Al Qaeda and the Taliban and its main backers.  After a cancerous dose of forced “Saudization” Pakistan needs liberalization which would guarantee peace and security to its oppressed Christain, Hindu, Ahmedi Muslim, Shia Muslim and Sunni Muslim populations.

There are, however, some voice of sanity. A former CIA intelligence analyst has warned the Obama administration to step back from blaming Iran for the foiled assassination plot against the Saudi ambassador in Washington.

Context: US attorney general
The US attorney-general says Iran is behind what would have been a blatant act of international terrorism and which investigating authorities said was intended to be a prelude to other attacks. At a press conference announcing the plot and the charging of two Iranians, attorney-general Eric Holder said that the US would “hold Iran accountable for its actions”. The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton also warned that the US will consider ways to isolate Iran from the international community.

Hollywood Script:
FBI Director Robert Mueller told reporters: “Though it reads like the pages of a Hollywood script, the impact would have been very real and many lives would have been lost.”

Iran’s reaction:
The Iranian regime is denying any involvement in the plot and says the allegations are US propaganda. The allegations werea comedy show fabricated by America“, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told the semi-official Iranian news agency, Fars.

Iran has categorically rejected the US accusations that the Islamic Republic was involved in a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington, calling it a ‘prefabricated scenario.’

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast, said on Tuesday that such ‘ludicrous’ claims hinged on the hostile joint stances adopted by the US and Israel against the country.

“These threadbare attitudes, which are based on the age-old and hostile American-Zionist policies, are a ridiculous show in line with certain [instances of] scenario fabrication of divisive ends on the part of the enemies of Islam and the region,” Mehmanparast said. He also condemned all acts of terrorism, adding that Washington was employing the legerdemain to divert attention from the growing domestic protests it was facing.

He emphasized that the Islamic Republic of Iran was a establishment founded on Islamic ethics and values and that the country had always warned that the enemies of the region were plotting against it.

Reports point to the United States efforts to wage media warfare against Iran, while Tehran says Washington’s ulterior motive is to deflect international attention from the runaway protests it is facing against corruption and the excessive influence of corporations on its policies.

The US is also the main supporter of Saudi Arabia — one of the most repressive and undemocratic regimes in the world.

Ex-CIA Analyst
But a former CIA analyst with decades of experience studying Iran, says the US may have got this dangerously wrong. Robert Baer spent 21 years working as a CIA case officer in the Middle East.

Mr. Baer said this plot does not appear to him to be driven by the Iranian government and he says the US administration must now step back from its comments and open a direct diplomatic channel with the Iranian regime or risk igniting an uncontrollable war.

The following is a transcript of Eleanor Hall’s (ABC Australia) conversation with Robert Baer.

ELEANOR HALL: Robert Baer, were you surprised when you heard about this assassination plot?

ROBERT BAER: Oh absolutely. I mean right now is not the time for Iran to provoke the United States. We’re on edge already vis-vis Iran and it came as a total surprise to me.

ELEANOR HALL: The Iranian authorities have dismissed this as US propaganda; is it credible that the Iranian government is behind it?

ROBERT BAER: I don’t think it’s credible, not the central government, there may be a rogue element behind it. This doesn’t fit their modus operandi at all. It’s completely out of character, they’re much better than this. They wouldn’t be sending money through an American bank, they wouldn’t be going to the cartels in Mexico to do this. It’s just not the way they work.

I’ve followed them for 30 years and they’re much more careful. And they always use a proxy between them and the operation, and in this case they didn’t. I mean it’s the, either they’re shooting themselves in the foot or there’s pieces of the story, I don’t know what they are.

ELEANOR HALL: Well the US attorney-general is alleging that it’s the Iranian government and has warned that the US will take further action against Iran; what could he mean by that? What form could that action take?

ROBERT BAER: Well if they had gone through with this and set off a bomb in a Washington restaurant and attacked the Israeli embassy and the rest of it, that’s a casus belli, they could have gone to war with Iran.

And will they move? Sanctions are not working, they’ve done all the sanctions they can, are they going to move to some sort of naval blockade, an embargo? I can’t tell you.

But if they truly believe the central government was going to launch an attack inside the United States like this, they have to do something now that they’re on the record.

ELEANOR HALL: Well they are on the record. They’re now saying that they will take further action. It’s surely not likely that they would launch a war?

ROBERT BAER: There could be retaliatory attacks or, you know, hit/bomb a Quds Force base in Tehran, any number of things of course which would lead to a huge escalation.

I just cannot get over the fact though, and I have to come back to this, the Iranians are not that sloppy to plan something like this and then call back to Tehran. So I can’t explain what’s going on here.

ELEANOR HALL: So are you suggesting that the US attorney-general is actually speaking out too soon in blaming the Iranian government?

ROBERT BAER: I think he is. So I wouldn’t be surprised if we see the administration sort of backing down from this in the coming days.

On the other hand, if they increase the rhetoric, we are looking at an escalation which is uncontrollable.

ELEANOR HALL: And which could lead where?

ROBERT BAER: It could lead to a conflict in Iran. I mean, if we were to launch an embargo, there’s a limited amount of troops in Iraq, would the Iranians retaliate against them? Would they retaliate against us in any number of places?

This is the problem, you know, Iran truly is the third rail of American foreign policy and no-one’s done anything over the years to ameliorate relations with Iran.

ELEANOR HALL: If it’s not Iran behind this assassination plot, what are the possibilities?

ROBERT BAER: You could have an individual claiming it’s the Iranian government, an Iranian radical. You might actually have a radical in Tehran attempting to frame the government.

ELEANOR HALL: And to what extent should the Saudis be concerned about such a plot against their ambassador in the US, whether it’s driven by the official authorities of Iran or not?

ROBERT BAER: I think that they should be worried about attacks inside Saudi Arabia, and again that goes back to escalation.

ELEANOR HALL: Well Iran and the Saudis have long been rival powers in the region, but are the various Arab Spring uprisings ratcheting up the tensions between the two?

ROBERT BAER: I think they are because if you look at something like Syria, Iran, no matter what they say, supports the minority regime. My contention is we’re sitting on a volcano in the Middle East. But that’s all could be ignited by this kind of tension. And people in the White House, that’s exactly what they don’t need going into an election.

ELEANOR HALL: So what’s your advice right now to the president?

ROBERT BAER: Well I think he made a huge step in this press conference in the wrong direction. You know, now is the time we should have a back channel to Iran, figure out who these people are, a red line, like we used to have with the Soviet Union, and sort this out. We need a direct channel to the Iranians to talk this through.

ELEANOR HALL: And the way that you’re speaking at the moment, this is a really serious point of crisis?

ROBERT BAER: I think it’s an act of war. If that bomb had gone off, if indeed this was a real plot, it had gone off, it would have been an act of war and the United States would have been forced to respond with military… an attack. There would have been no question in my mind.

So were we that close to a war with Iran? I don’t know.

ELEANOR HALL: But at this point you’re saying actions need to be taken to step it back, from the United States?

ROBERT BAER: Absolutely. We could not control the consequences of a war with Iran, it’s uncontrollable.

Look, all these scenarios are worst case, and fortunately they rarely come about and I hope we step back on this one.

ELEANOR HALL: Robert Baer, thanks very much for joining us.

ROBERT BAER: Thank you.
You can listen to a longer version of that interview on the ABC website.

Limited implications
Ted Carpenter, a senior fellow at Washington-based think-tank Cato Institute, however, said that given the already miserable state of U.S.-Iranian relations, the allegation will have only limited additional bilateral impact — unless the Obama administration seeks to make the episode a high-priority matter.

“It seems unlikely, though, that the administration will want to escalate matters from an incident to a crisis with Iran,” he told Xinhua.

Carpenter said that he expects Iranian-Arab (and especially Iranian-Saudi) tensions to rise sharply in the coming months.

Political tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia has been increasing since Saudi forces intervened in March to help Bahrain’s Sunni rulers crush pro-reform demonstrations backed by the Shi’ite majority.

In the meanwhile, KSA sends more troops to quell unrest in Qateef (Eastern Province)
Saudi Arabia has reportedly dispatched more troops and military equipment to its Eastern Province in a bid to quell anti-government protests. Activists said on Monday that dozens of military vehicles, including tanks, have left an army base in the center of the country for oil-rich Eastern Province as anti-government protests in the region show no sign of petering out despite a heavy government crackdown. The move came nearly one week after Riyadh sent over 40 military vehicles to the region to help local police suppress anti-government protesters.

While protests and political gatherings of any kind are prohibited in the absolute monarchy, hundreds of Saudis have staged protest rallies in Qatif and Awamiyah and some other towns in Eastern Province over the past weeks, demanding political reforms, the release of political prisoners, the freedom of expression and respect for human rights. They have also called for the withdrawal of their country’s troops from neighboring Bahrain, where Saudi-backed Bahraini forces have launched a deadly crackdown on peaceful anti-regime protesters.

Last Monday, Saudi security troops opened fire on hundreds of anti-government protesters in Awamiyah, in Qatif, injuring at least 27 activists, including three women. The Saudi Interior Ministry, however, claims that 14 people were injured in the attack. A fresh round of protests in Qatif has begun since Saudi security forces arrested two senior citizens, including a 60-year-old man, in a bid to force their sons, both anti-government activists, to surrender themselves to authorities. Since then, hundreds of Saudis have been gathering outside the police headquarters in Qatif, demanding the immediate release of detainees. Security forces disperse such crowd using force.

Saudi activists say there are more than 30,000 political prisoners, mostly prisoners of conscious, in jails across the Arab kingdom. According to activists, most of the detained political thinkers are being held by the government without trial or legitimate charges and that they were arrested for merely being suspicious. Some of the detainees are reported to be held without trial for more than 16 years. The Saudi government has been frequently criticized by human rights groups. Western governments, however, have remained silent on the human rights violations of the kingdom. (Source)



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